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 John Helgeson  (1931 - )

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Lived/Active: California/North Dakota      Known for: printmaking, abstract expressionism

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Ad Code: 3
John Helgeson
An example of work by John Helgeson
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist, August 2003:

John Helgeson's art career started after he was discharged from the Air Force in 1954 when he enrolled in California College of Arts and Crafts. He majored in Advertising Art his first four years and then, under the urging of George Miyasaki, one of the leaders in American printmaking, he went on for his masters degree in printmaking with the hope of getting a teaching position at a college. During this time he began getting his prints accepted into major juried art exhibits throughout the country. One of his fondest memories of those school years was having coffee in the cafeteria with Richard Diebenkorn who taught there for a while.

1960 was a good year for art in the San Francisco Bay area and it was at the 45th National Print Exhibition at the Palace of the Legion of Honor that he won his first major award. In 1961 he was invited by the Library of Congress to have his work included in an exhibit titled "Recent American Prints". The exhibit toured the United States and Asia. After the show was completed, the Library of Congress purchased one of his prints. In 1962 the Brooklyn Museum of Art purchased two of his prints that had been accepted into the thirteenth National Exhibition of Prints at the museum. In 1962 The Eric Locke Gallery in San Francisco was having an invitational exhibit titled "Prints-The Californians" and he was included amongst some of the most prestigious abstract expressionist printermakers in California.

When he graduated in 1961, his hopes of teaching art at a college were thwarted because of severe budget declines throughout the country. Having a family to support he fell back on his advertising knowledge to pursue a job. Unfortunately it was all too easy to do and he spent the next twenty nine years in the field as an art director and production manager. His only chance at teaching came in 1970 when a professor at California State University at Hayward, asked if he would take over his printmaking class while he was on a sabbatical.

He worked at Ketchum Advertising in San Francisco for twelve years, and in 1985 he left to start his own company in Glen Ellen in Sonoma County, California. He worked closely with most of the wineries in the area producing everything that you can imagine related to wine. He sold his business in 1992 to retire and move to Del Norte County in Northern California.

Having worked on computers for six years making illustrations, he decided to begin making prints again using the computer instead of a etching or lithography press. The inkjet printers were now being sold in stores and he bought one to try making prints. The first printers were not all that good but they soon became a viable method of printmaking.

John is a passionate artist who spends six to eight hours a day making art. He says that it takes him a long time to complete a print because he is a nitpicker. About his prints he says "I can't call a print finished until it sings".

PERMANENT COLLECTIONS;

Library of Congress
Palace of the Legion of Honor
Brooklyn Museum of Art

SOLO EXHIBITS
2000 Art in Public Places
Del Norte Country Court House,
Crescent City, California
2001 College of the Redwoods Gallery,
College of the Redwoods,
Crescent City, California

GROUP EXHIBITS
1959 California State Fair
Sacramento, California
1959 Annual Exhibition of Oil and Sculpture
Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
1959 Bay Printmakers' Fifth National Print Exhibition
Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA
1959 "8 (count 'em) Painters
Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
1960 Green Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1960 Luana Mole Gallery, Monterey, CA
1960 Transitional Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA
1960 California State Fair, Sacramento, CA
1960 Jack London Art Festival, Oakland, CA
1960 Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts
Forty-Fifth National Print Exhibition
Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1960 Eighteenth National Exhibition of Prints
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
1960 Bay Printmakers' Sixth National Print
Exhibition. Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA
1960 California Painters' Exhibition
Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA
1960 Twenty-third Annual Drawing,
Print and Watercolor Exhibition
San Francisco Museum of Art
San Francisco, CA
1960 Ninth Annual Exhibition of Watercolor,
Graphics and Ceramic Sculpture Exhibit
Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
1961 Jack London Art Festival, Oakland, CA
1961 Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts
Forty-sixth National Print Exhibition
Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1961 "Recent American Prints" (Toured Asia)
1962 "Prints, the Californians"
Eric Locke Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1962 California Society of Etchers 1962 Exhibition
deYoung Museum, San Francisco, CA
1962 Thirteenth National Print Exhibition
Brooklyn Art Museum, Brooklyn, NY
1999 Del Norte County Fair
Crescent City, CA
2000 Art in Public Places
Del Norte County Court House,
Crescent City, CA
2000 Azalea Art Festival
Brookings, OR
2000 Creative Arts for Older Americans
Del Norte County Fair, Crescent City, CA
2001 Art in Public Places
Del Norte County Court House,
Crescent City, CA
2001 Azalea Art Festival
Brookings, OR
2001 Creative Arts for Older Americans
Del Norte County Fair, Crescent City, CA
2001 30 Del Norte County Artists Invitational Exhibit
Rural Human Services
Crescent City, CA
2002 Azalea Art Festival
Brookings, OR
2002 Art in Public Places
Del Norte County Court House,
Crescent City, CA
2002 Creative Arts for Older Americans
Del Norte County Fair, Crescent City, CA
2003 Azalea Art Festival
Brookings, OR
2003 Art in Public Places
Del Norte County Court House
Crescent City, CA
2003 Elder Arts Exhibit
Jewett Gallery
San Francisco Main Library
San Francisco, CA

AWARDS

1959 California State Fair
Non-purchase Award for Prints
1960 California State Fair
1st Premium Award for Prints
1960 Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts
45th National Print Exhibition
Purchase Award
2000 Azalea Art Festival
Second Award for Graphics
2000 Creative Arts for Older Americans
Second Award
2001 Azalea Art Festival
Second Award for Graphics
2001 Art in Public Places
First Award and Honorable Mention
2001 Creative Arts for Older Americans
Honorable Mention
2002 Azalea Art Festival
First Award for Graphics
2002 Art in Public Places
Honorable Mention
2002 Creative Arts for Older Americans
Two First Place Awards
2003 Azalea Art Festival
Second Award for Graphics
2003 Art in Public Places (DNACA)
Honorable Mention

REFERENCE BOOKS

"American prints in the Library of Congress"
Compiled by Karen F. Beall
John Hopkins Press, 1970, p. 206.






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